Friendship is one of the best things in life. It’s not to be alone. It’s to share something. A friend could be a brother, could be someone younger than you, could be older, and could be from another country, gender, race, and even different ideology. The point is to be part of an honest and loyal bond.
Walking back down memory lane in Caracas, my first friends were my brothers, later on, during the 1960s, my neighbors in El Paraiso. However, my first best friend was as a teenager in La Floresta called Javier Rodriguez. We loved to do boxing more than as a game than a sport, he exposed me to different music, rock and salsa, very different from what my parents listened to at home. We used to run across our beautiful urbanization with all those trees and gorgeous houses during the 70s. His family has a big home, and he had several brothers. His family had Peruvian origins, and, in the kitchen, there was always Ceviche… mmmm.
I also remember another friend from La Floresta where many employees of the American Embassy lived; I made a friend from the United States who got mad when he heard heavy rock like Kiss, etc. I do not remember his name and just recalled him as a very wild blond lad with freckles. Nevertheless, we enjoyed skating along the ramps of his building. Another friend was Cesar Mendoza, he lived in Los Palos Grandes and he had an outstanding music collection: Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Who… He had curly hair, and was very funny, he was the clown of the Santiago de Leon school; I also remember he was very fluent in French. We all have bikes and did long journeys in Caracas.
My best friend in high school was Ignacio Borges, he was one of the most brilliant students in the school, tall, mulatto, elegant, with very educated parents who loved me like another son. Ignacio played piano and he was an extraordinary dancer. We talked a lot, went to the movies, and he helped with my studies because I was very lazy. We went to parties, skipped classes; wander around La Floresta, and even farther out. Our group could be considered as nerds, however, the popular kids accepted us most of the time. After high school graduation in the early 80s, Ignacio went to study Medicine in Brazil; I choose to study Marine Biology at Universidad de Oriente in Cumaná. Therefore, we split, but keep communicating by occasional letters on those last times of the writing postal letters. He also sent me magazines from Brazil, etc. I have had no contact with him recently??
In Cumaná, I made new friends with a different perspective as an 18-year young man. I remember with admiration, Renzo Buonocuore, a tall Italian descendant from Maracaibo, he teaches me independence and survivorship in life. Then came Martin Osuna, he was a surfer from Caracas, who love progressive rock and reading good literature. On weekends, we went to Chacopata trying to find several good waves to ride them. He, Luis Oribe (rip), and a mestizo but clever woman call Valia Duarte made a small team of outlanders, all were from Caracas, and the local students called us -the three men- as the Europeans, the rockers, or the surfers. I started to use long hair and dressed very rough. Nowadays, Martin is far in the ocean´s world but we are in contact yet.
My local friend from Cumana was Aquiles Penott, he was a mulatto, very informal in his dressing, but with an encyclopedic knowledge of everything. Moreover, his music collection had no rival. I spent most of my time with him, talking about politics, listen to new styles and rock groups, and even some academic music or jazz while enjoying some meals with his family. I had to thanks him for his attention during my undergraduate studies. Even today, he continues to send me music, and videos. ¡Gracias Aquiles!
As an adult, my friend from Cumana was Carlos Salmeron. He is an intellectual, a sportsman, and was a sociology professor at Universidad de Oriente during the high years of the 80s and 90s. We love arts in any form, women, the good life, and going to the beach. I eventually left Venezuela to study in Europe but came back and we continue being good friends.
In the 2000s I met an older man at the Environment Ministry, Luis Jose Cova. A journalist, a fan of baseball history, and more than anything we love to talk and talk and talk about any subject with his universal sense of wisdom. He became my field trip companion of the project in Macuro and a sincere advisor. His late wife, Mary, adored my daughters, and they introduced me to their relatives and friends during the first decade of the XXI century. We are still friends and continue the Macuro program. I must not forget my female friends, Emery from Cumana, Marina, Eva, Carmen, and of course my wife Alba.